The Phantom Economy   /   Summer 2010   /    Essays & Short Takes

Waking Up in a Contentious World

Thomas DeGloma

In March of 2008, over one hundred veterans of the U.S.-led wars in the Middle East gathered in Silver Spring, Maryland “to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan,” in order to give “an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.”11x“Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, ” website of Iraq veterans Against the War: emphasis added. The event’s title, “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” was chosen to pay tribute to a three-day, public testimonial organized by vietnam veterans Against the War in 1971 at which 109 veterans and 16 civilians testified to their knowledge of war crimes in vietnam. At the more recent event, organized by Iraq veterans Against the War (IvAW),  a diverse group of veterans offered similar testimony about the atrocities of war. Over the course of four days, they made powerful claims about a range of issues—from the devastation and dehumanization of Iraqi and Afghani civilians to the lack of adequate healthcare for returning soldiers.

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